Vancouver driver challenging ban on dressing as Santa

Michael Mui, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:17 PM ET

VANCOUVER — A B.C. bus driver is challenging a ban on his tradition of dressing up as St. Nick while on the job each December.

Kirk Rockwell, a bus driver in the Lower Mainland area, said he has donned his red suit and Santa hat — always with the permission of his supervisor — for the past 15 years.

He said he again got permission this year to dress up as Santa, but the same supervisor sent him a letter on Dec. 2 telling him that he could no longer drive around dressed as Santa Claus.

TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel said the uniform policy changed about a year ago.

The changes were partly due to safety reasons, he said, as wearing a uniform projects professionalism and lets people know an official is present.

Bus drivers can wear Santa hats and a festive tie, but full-body costumes are now banned.

Rockwell, who described himself as a “rebel with a Claus,” remained steadfast in his December fashion choice.

“I’m sure there’s going to be repercussions tomorrow,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m not backing down.”

Zabel said the company celebrates Christmas in other ways, such as through its reindeer buses that pick up toys for children. Since 1985, he said, 60,000 toys have been donated and $15,000 has been raised.

“So to call us Grinches, that’s not really fair when we do a lot of really good stuff for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and a lot of our employees are really proud of that,” he said.